Another One Bites the Dust: Lenfest Foundation to Cease Grant Giving

One of Philadelphia’s mega-philanthropies is willingly winding down its operations, after more than a decade of mega-giving. The Lenfest Foundation, which was founded by billionaire H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest and his wife Marguerite, is planning to sunset most of its major investments over the next 10 to 15 years. Lenfest, personally and through his charity, has disbursed $1.2 billion to Philly-area programs since founding the group in 2000. The 82-year old also chairs the board of the Interstate Media Group, which owns the Daily News and the Inquirer. [Insert snarky joke about having enough charities on his hands already.]

“I’m not in ill health. I don’t believe in perpetual foundations. We’ve given away the bulk of our wealth already, and I will have a diminished role in the future. My success in business was finding people who were better at doing things than I was. It’s a logical evolution.”

This news, as the Inquirer notes, leaves the William Penn Foundation in a class by itself, as the Annenberg Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts have shifted operations to Southern California, and Washingon, D.C., respectively. And WPF is having an identity crisis of its own. [Inquirer]